We discuss the ergonomics of the man/machine interface in relation to the administration of an anesthetic. We describe the cognitive activities of the anesthesiologist, the limitations of attention, and its effect on patient monitoring. We propose the use of a device which notifies only the anesthesiologist of an alarm message, without disturbing the patient or otherwise interfering with the routine of the operating room. A visual monitor placed next to the patient can centralize and coordinate all alarm signals, thereby improving patient safety.
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